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In his black and white world, Sam Bradford–former Marine turned government assassin–finally sees a speck of grey. He has always followed orders without question, but his latest assignment threatens to disrupt the precision of his universe and may either severe or redeem his last remaining sliver of humanity.
Using his mastery of the 122 Rules of Psychology, Sam hunts down everyone The Agency sends him to find and eliminates them. Just as he has his rifle scope focused on his latest victim, Monica Sable, a SoCal girl entangled with the mob, his long-dormant conscience reappears for a final performance…one last ditch effort to save the sinking ship of Sam’s soul. He’s killed innocents before, but tarries on pulling the trigger this time.
When Monica escapes his crosshairs and fumbles her way across the country in a pathetic attempt to elude capture, Sam gives chase. But he’s not the only one after her. Ruthless henchmen, hired by the mob, froth like bloodhounds and nip at Monica’s heels. Now Sam is faced with a choice: turn his back on the rules and jeopardize his way of life by helping her or join the pack and rip her to shreds.
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Monica and the three goons in the death wagon drove for what felt like an eternity. A man with the chest and shoulders of a linebacker and a face chiseled out of granite sat opposite her on the backseat. Clad in a three-piece suit and dark sunglasses, he had first captured then belted her into the large SUV. But now it seemed the fun for him had ended, and he only glanced her way on the occasional mile.
The man in the passenger front seat with the broken nose ignored her, giving his full attention to the road ahead. The hood of his sweatshirt had fallen back, revealing the bristles of a crew cut as sharp and squared away as the Super Bowl field on the morning of game day. He wiped his sleeve across his upper lip, leaving a trail of blood on the dingy gray fabric. After their altercation earlier, his groin and ribs had to be aching as well. A thin smirk of satisfaction played across her lips. If only for a moment, she’d had the upper hand.
Monica’s smile faded as her thoughts returned to her predicament. She sat directly behind the driver. Maybe a chop to the neck or a blow to the temple would disable him? Would that cause him to lose control of the vehicle? Could she grab the wheel and yank it? If they crashed into oncoming traffic, would she be able to escape the twisted metal and broken glass? Though she hadn’t seen the driver’s face, the thickness of the man’s shoulders beneath his suit jacket rivaled Granite’s. This man could swat her off as easily as an annoying spider.
She couldn’t out-muscle them, so surprise and distraction were her only allies. Surely these meatheads carried weapons. Could she startle one of them—maybe scream in Driver’s ear since he was focused on navigating the busy city streets and would be less able to react—and grab his gun? She would hold the barrel to his neck, forcing him to pull the car over, and blast anyone that tried to stop her. The idea had merit. But Granite sat only inches away; he would enjoy subduing her.
Though the idea made her nerves cringe, she could dive out the door. They did that on TV all the time. Fall and roll, right? Looked simple enough. But she doubted it worked in real life. In the movies, no cars ever trailed behind the hero as he made his escape. Most likely, she would be mowed down by one of the insane taxis that prowled the boulevards. At the very least, she’d break a leg or twist her ankle, and they would recapture her.
But the closer they got to wherever these brutes were taking her, the faster her viable options dwindled. Seeing no alternative, she tensed, fingers wrapped around the door’s release handle. Steeling herself, she took a deep breath and pulled the lever.
The door didn’t budge.
Shit. Child locks. Of course these guys would have thought of that. She looked up to find Crew Cut watching her.
He pointed at her lap. “You forgot to unbuckle your belt too.” Her eyes dropped to the buckle. Duh! The corners of his lips curled up, then he turned away to watch out his window, uninterested.
No one said anything for a few miles. Finally Monica turned to Granite. “Look, before you kill me, can I at least call and say goodbye to my family?”
About Deek Rhew
Deek did not set out to be a writer. Originally, he wanted to follow father’s path as a career military man and fly for the Air Force. So, Deek spent two years in high school preparing for the ROTC. During a routine check-in, his recruiter asked about any handicaps, to which Deek jokingly replied he was colorblind. The recruiter got a funny look on his face and informed Deek that the closest he’d ever get to the pilot’s seat was from the scheduling office. Um no.
After that, Deek focused on his love for music–touring with a local rock band and majoring in the art in college. Unfortunately he didn’t enjoy the life of a pauper, so he started secondary school over. Ten years later, he walked across the stage with a computer science degree. He now slings web code for a major electronics company in his hometown.
Though he loves his job and the people he works with, Deek has been enthralled by the written word and storytelling since he picked up his first Stephen King novel, It. On his way to work one day, a scene so vivid flashed through his mind that he felt compelled to pull over and put it to paper. Having neither quill nor parchment in which to document the image, he laboriously pecked out the first chapter of 122 Rules on his phone.
Deek lives his stunning author bride, Erin Rhew, and their writing assistant, a fat tabby named Trinity. They enjoy lingering in the mornings, and often late into the night, caught up Erin’s fantastic fantasy worlds of noble princes and knights and entwined in Deek’s dark underworld of the FBI and drug lords.
He and Erin enjoy spending time with friends and family, running, boxing, lifting weights, and adventuring–traveling from place to place to see what’s new and what kind of mischief they can get into.
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